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School of Public Health
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Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology

Student Profiles

Austin Bell Austin Bell
MS Student

What was your educational and relevant work experience prior to enrolling in the OEE program?

Bachelors' of Science in Geography at The University of Iowa,
GIS Intern for the Office of Sustainability at the University of Iowa,
Undergraduate Research Assistant for the Injury Prevention Research Center at the University of Iowa

What made you interested in the field of occupational and environmental epidemiology?

My interests in geographic/spatial modeling of infectious diseases and how climate change affects human health led me to occupational and environmental epidemiology.

What made you choose the University of Minnesota?

The variety of courses offered, prestige of the program and the helpfulness of Environmental Health and Sciences faculty and staff were all major factors in why I chose the University of Minnesota.

What type of job would you like to find upon completion of the program?

I would like to work as an epidemiologist in a state health department.

What would you say to a student considering the program?

It's a multidisciplinary field that allows you to combine a lot of different interests. Everyone works and lives in a specific environment, so it is incredibly relevant to people's lives. I believe it is an area that has a lot of room for potential for growth and new findings.

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Craig Meyer Craig S. Meyer, MPH, MS
PhD Candidate

What was your educational and relevant work experience prior to enrolling in the OEE program?

Before enrolling in the OEE program, I had completed a Master of Public Health degree in Environmental Health Sciences, worked as a student intern at the Minnesota Department of Health, and worked in Behavioral Health Services at the University of Minnesota Medical Center.

What made you interested in the field of occupational and environmental epidemiology?

I was very interested in methodological research in occupational and environmental epidemiology.

What made you choose the University of Minnesota?

I am originally from Minnesota. However, as I was looking at different graduate programs, I realized that the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota had a lot to offer in terms of programs, training opportunities, and faculty mentors.

What type of job would you like to find upon completion of the program?

I hope to work as a quantitative epidemiologist, providing statistical and methodological expertise in a research environment.

What would you say to a student considering the program?

The OEE program is a great opportunity that provides excellent training, faculty mentorship, and research collaboration. Students are encouraged to develop and explore their individual research interests, while gaining valuable experience in communicating their work. Students can feel confident that upon graduation, they will have gained valuable skills that will allow them to be competitive in the job market.

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Nnaemeka Odo Nnaemeka Odo, MB, BS, MPH
PhD Candidate

What was your educational and relevant work experience prior to enrolling in the OEE program?

Before enrolling in the OEE program, I had graduated from medical school and practiced as a physician for a year in Nigeria, West Africa. With my interest in global health, I enrolled in the M.P.H program at the University of Minnesota School of public health, in the Environmental Health Sciences Division.
With the research experience during my M.P.H and with an opportunity to further extend that experience and training to doctoral level training, I seized the opportunity to enroll in the OEE program also at the University of Minnesota.

What made you interested in the field of occupational and environmental epidemiology?

My interest in occupational and environmental epidemiology extends from the great opportunities it provides to be part of key research that aims at understanding occupational and environmental exposure-related public health challenges. Its relevance also stems from the wide applicability to various fields of public health epidemiology.

What made you choose the University of Minnesota?

The University of Minnesota is continually a top ten school of public health nationwide and its researchers, academics and instructors are among the best in the country. This results in cutting edge out-of-the-box thinking and attracts world class researchers all year round to study within its walls.

What type of job would you like to find upon completion of the program?

My target job, on completion of the program, is as an occupational or a public health epidemiologist with emphasis on occupational epidemiology, medicine and health policy.

What would you say to a student considering the program?

It is a good, competitive, demanding program for a reason. This OEE program makes you better and more competitive globally in the field of occupational and environmental epidemiology.

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Laura Scott Laura Scott, MPH, MS
PhD Candidate

What was your educational and relevant work experience prior to enrolling in the OEE program?

I received my Bachelor of Science with a Concentration in Microbiology from Oakland University in 2001, after which I worked for the Macomb County Health Department as a contract employee. I obtained an MS in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School in 2004 and an MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Michigan School of Public Health in 2006. While working towards my MPH, I reviewed the infectious disease and epidemiological literature related to bacterial infection in Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients and completed several data analyses which focused on identifying key risk factors for CF patients and using these characteristics to model patient infection. Additionally, I analyzed serum data collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to describe referent levels of the dioxin-like compounds in the general U.S. population. During my spare time I served as one of the Public Health Student Association's Service Committee co-chairs. Between 2005 and 2009, I worked for a scientific consulting firm where I conducted statistical analyses of biomonitoring data for occupationally exposed cohorts as well as analyses of chemical concentrations, such as benzene and organochlorines, in food products. I also helped to develop a study protocol and design an exposure questionnaire for a large biomonitoring study which measured dioxins in the serum of secondary copper recovery workers. In addition, I collaborated with the U.S. Air Force to analyze data on serum dioxin concentrations and diabetes as part of the Air Force Health Study.

What made you interested in the field of occupational and environmental epidemiology?

Occupational exposures have decreased significantly over the last several decades, making studying health effects in occupational cohorts a great challenge to epidemiologists.

What made you choose the University of Minnesota?

I wanted to attend a top 10 school of public health, but also wanted to be close to my family in the Midwest. Because I had already received two masters degrees from the University of Michigan, I wanted to study at a school that might provide different teaching and research perspectives and strategies.

What type of job would you like to find upon completion of the program?

I would like to continue working as a consultant or work directly for industry, either as an occupational epidemiologist or within a risk assessment framework.

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